There’s no better place to while away a rainy afternoon than in one of Portland’s many locally-owned bookstores. The essential and most obvious stop is Powell’s City of Books, which, with more than 1 million new and used volumes, is the largest independent bookstore in the world. But don’t stop there! Venture a little further afield, and you’ll find an abundance of literary riches at these Portland bookstores.
Favorite Portland Bookstores
Green Bean Books
The impossibly cozy Green Bean has the distinction of being the premier kids’ shop among Portland bookstores. Inside a little red house on Northeast Alberta Avenue, you’ll find shelf after shelf of new and used picture books, graphic novels, nonfiction for all ages and a small but eclectic foreign language section that includes books in Vietnamese, Spanish, Chinese and more. In addition to literary treasures for the whole family, Green Bean stocks a selection of whimsical toys. Shop for finger puppets, hand-painted dolls and fake facial hair (some of which are sold from vintage, coin-operated vending machines). Settle into a couch or armchair for story time or an author event; check their site for an up-to-date calendar.
The petite Monograph isn’t a shop to get lost in, but it’s full of rare, unexpected finds. This tidy, stylish shop just off Northeast Alberta specializes in art books, retro posters and ephemera. The owners display $1 vintage postcards with the same care as antique opera posters and catalogs from Marcel Duchamp exhibits.
Mother Foucault’s Bookshop
As the name implies, Mother Foucault’s is a haven for lovers of philosophy, but they also stock fiction, poetry, nonfiction and foreign-language titles. This relatively young shop feels like it’s been at its Central Eastside location for decades. Revel in the well-trodden rugs, worn wooden shelves and piles of dusty, leather-bound tomes. Their event calendar features readings and performances by bands from Portland and around the globe.
For the scholars in the group, don’t forget to stop by Daedalus Books in Northwest Portland. With a great selection of used art, philosophy, and music books, this independent seller has kept Portland’s bookshelves well-stocked since 1997.
This female-owned shop on Northeast Broadway has drawn in shoppers since 1992 with a wide array of new fiction and nonfiction titles. Brightly lit and welcoming, Broadway Books attracts families with its exceptional customer service and a vast selection, including sizeable travel and kids’ sections. The shop also hosts author events that have featured the likes of Floyd Skloot, Cheryl Strayed and Diana Abu-Jaber.
Annie Bloom’s Books
A Multnomah Village staple since 1978, Annie Bloom’s is a friendly, independent shop packed with fiction, travel guides, cookbooks and kids’ books. Don’t miss the frequent author readings — or the friendly resident cat!
Third Eye Books
With a focus on African-centered books, accessories and gifts, Third Eye Books has a great selection of Black writers and philosophers, writers from the African diaspora, and books for allies. Located on Division Street, this bookstore is more than a shop; they are a community center with readings and events.
Friends Library Store
Hidden away on the main floor of the Central Library, the Friends Library Store sells new and recent fiction and nonfiction, textbooks, vintage, signed, and occasionally rare titles and ephemera. Sales from the bookstore fund library programs and services for the local community.
Bridge City Comics
Rose City Comics is a graphic novel paradise. Comics from a wide berth of publishers like Marvel, DC and smaller labels like Oni Press line the shelves, with new material arriving every Wednesday. Join like-minded comic enthusiasts on the second Thursday of every month for their Graphic Novel Reading Club, or peruse stacks of used comics for sale at a discount. Whether you’re a collector looking for hard-to-find titles or are just starting to explore the world of comics, Bridge City Comics is the place to go.
Floating World Comics
Known for its large selection of small press, self-published and underground titles, Floating World Comics provides a home for underdog authors and little-known artists, as well as big-name titles from local publishers like Dark Horse. Their all-ages section offers a wide variety of youth and YA graphic novels, and new authors are welcome to bring in their own mini-comics or zines to sell on their shelves.
These notable hometown authors capture the spirit of the Pacific Northwest and are must-reads for visitors and locals alike.
Portland Book Festival (formerly “Wordstock”) returns every November with an impressive (and extensive) lineup of local and national authors.
Hear true stories about love, sex, history, movies and even middle school at six regular live storytelling events in Portland.
Was this page helpful?